A client usually has many choices whether it’s for a service provider or for a product. You want them to have choices when it comes time to pay you. Not only does it facilitate the transaction for them but it could mean the difference between having the client and losing the client. Payment methods are a small part of the equation but they can turn into something big if you don’t accept what your customer has. This also varies by business and business type.
Different Payment Methods
PayPal is usually a good choice especially for online businesses. I’ve seen people decline making a purchase because the seller didn’t accept PayPal. It’s easy to sign up for and it’s free in general for most businesses unless you get a pro account. Even brick and mortar businesses have started using PayPal. It’s just easier for some buyers.
Credit cards. You really want a way to accept credit cards. Yes you lose money on each transaction but there are people that prefer to use credit cards, whether it’s because they don’t have the cash, they might want to earn points or just for their security or convenience. I posted a few months back about low cost credit card options.
Cash. Cash is king. If you see your clients face to face you might as well accept cash. There are no processing fees so this is usually the preferred method. Some clients prefer to pay other ways but you have some that love paying cash.
Checks. Checks have taken a turn in the digital age but you will still see paper checks. The bad about checks is they don’t clear instantly. The good is you can avoid processing fees accepting checks. In the digital age now you don’t have to physically take the check to the bank, you can take a picture of it with your banks online banking app and deposit it, if it’s easier for you.
Another good thing about checks you can print them yourself. That means you can do check by phone for free (well minus the cost for ink, check paper and maybe a check printing program). The way to do this is you get the client’s routing number and bank account number as well as their name, address info. You print the check out with these details. You take it to the bank and you deposit it. This is called a check draft. Instead of the client signature in the signature line you put in something like: “This draft is preauthorized by your depositor, no signature required.”.
Small businesses can save hundreds of dollars per month in transaction fees by just accepting checks and cash. You do run the risk of losing clients that need to use credit, but this isn’t a problem with all businesses.
In House Financing. This can be big especially if you sell higher dollar items or services. If you can get the customer the money they need to buy from you, they will be your customer. This can be the differentiator of an estimate or purchase, going to your competitor. You don’t necessarily have to fund it yourself, it will just appear that way since you are helping them get the money they need. A lot of small businesses are making an extra 6 figures per year just by adverting this, larger businesses are making much more.
Western Union, Money Gram, Wire Transfers. I bunched these all together just because these are usually less popular ways of clients purchasing preference. The good with these is the customer pays all of the fees on the money coming in. The bad is it’s kind of inconvenient although now they all have online options.
Barter. I’ve bartered for services and items and have accepted barter for services and items. This isn’t as common as it should be but it could be a great option for some busineses. You probably don’t want to overdo the bartering unless you can resell whatever you bartered for and be able to cash out.
You don’t need to accept every form of payment but you should try to make things as convenient as possible to the purchaser/customer/client/patient.